Previewing Serie A Clubs for the Rest of the Season (Part Four)

Featured

Image Via: http://juvefc.com

The anticipation in my head is building like crazy, as tomorrow the Serie A season will resume! Here’s my article previewing Serie A clubs for the rest of the season (part four). Be sure to enjoy it!

Roma

Image Via: http://squawka.com

I’m not really sure what to make of this season for Roma. I predicted them to finish in the top four at the beginning of the season. But, results-wise, I don’t think they’ve disappointed that much being in fifth. At the beginning of the season, they were a bit inconsistent. As the season has gone on, they’ve definitely improved. Dzeko has been decent upfront. At the back, the likes of Smalling and Mancini have also formed a decent partnership. Even Veretout and Diawara have done their jobs in the midfield. What may help this squad be in the Champions League next season is the fact that Zaniolo will be back. We’ll see if he can help elevate them to that next level for the remainder of the season.

Atalanta

Image Via: http://ca.sports.yahoo.com

Like I’ve mentioned many times, Atalanta has been performing above expectations by far this season. They qualified for the Champions League for the first time, as a result of finishing third last season. Once again, they’re holding on to a Champions League spot for next season. The fact that they could perform at this high of a level in the league and qualify to the quarterfinals of the Champions League is amazing, to say the least! Considering, the revenue the club earns. Roma is only 3 points away from them for that final Champions League spot. Don’t ever doubt this squad, though. We’ll see if Gasperini can lead Atalanta to the Champions League once again!

Inter

Image Via: http://forbes.com

This season has been an interesting one for the nerazzuri. During the first half of the season, it seemed like they could go toe to toe with Juve for the scudetto. However, in the second half of the season, their form dipped significantly. They definitely possess the players to be scudetto contenders. However, it seemed as though their opponents began to figure out their tactics more and how to limit them. In Inter’s match last Saturday against Napoli, Antonio Conte changed his formation from a 3-5-2 to 3-4-1-2 and Christian Eriksen started. He definitely showed how good Inter can be when he starts. We’ll see if Conte keeps using the 3-4-1-2 for the rest of the season.

Lazio

Image Via: http://fcbarcelonanoticias.com

I don’t think that Lazio or even calcio fans, in general, could’ve expected Lazio to perform this well. Kudos to them! Everything has seemed to click for this squad. As a result, they’re neck and neck with Juve for the scudetto. Before this all happened, they went on a massive unbeaten run in the league. This whole situation may effect that momentum. However, one thing is certain. That thing is that if they keep the momentum up from before, surely, they’ll win the scudetto. That’d be something remarkable if it happened! I’m sure Napoli fans wouldn’t be impressed, as they’ve been Juve’s main contender for the scudetto over the last several seasons and they haven’t been able to pull it off.

Juventus

Image Via: http://juvefc.com

It’s clear that this season Juve hasn’t had the same fear factor in Serie A as previous ones. Sarri shares a little bit of blame for that. But, it’s mostly because of Juve’s upper-management. In the summer, they didn’t address Juve’s right-back and central midfield issues. As a result, their flaws have been very explicit. Sarri has also had a tough time this season, so far. Yes, they’re in first but he’s had trouble implementing his style of play with their current squad. A big part of that is because the midfield doesn’t fit his style of play. He could implement Sarriball with this squad. But, the issue would be is they’d get exposed badly at the back. We’ll see if Maurizio Sarri can lead Juve to a Scudetto, in his debut season with the club.

Thank you for reading all four articles previewing Serie A clubs for the rest of the season! I don’t about you, but I’m so excited to finally be able to watch Serie A once again! We’ll see how the rest of the season plays out.

The Three Best No. 10s in Serie A this Season

Featured

Image Credit: http://goal.com

Over the years, Serie A has offered some of the best No. 10s of all-time. Del Piero, Baggio, Maradona, and Totti are among those legendary No. 10s. Presently, there are lots of great No. 10s to choose from in Italy. So, I’ve decided to write an article on the three best No.10s this season in Serie A. So, let’s get to it!

3. Lautaro Martinez

Image Credit: http://punditfeed.com

Lautaro Martinez isn’t a typical No. 10. What I mean by that is he’s not primarily a playmaker and has played as a striker this season and throughout his career at Inter, so far. There’s no denying his talent, though. I’d argue he’s probably the most well-rounded strikers in Serie A. He’s a great dribbler and playmaker. Also, he can definitely score. He definitely complements Lukaku perfectly well as well. In my opinion, he reminds me of Carlos Tevez or Sergio Aguero, style-wise at least. Like them, his first touch and dribbling ability, especially in tight quarters are top-notch. Also, his ability to evade defenders reminds me a lot of those two. He’s definitely the youngest player in this article and has plenty of room to grow. I’d love to see how good he can become as his career progresses.

2. Luis Alberto

Image Credit: http://sevillafc.es

Luis Alberto has definitely shown how good he can be throughout his time at Lazio. When you think of a typical playmaker, it’s him. He’s not the best goalscorer. But, what he brings to the table is his ability to pass, which is top-class. Currently, he leads the league in assists with 12. I mean, it helps when you have Immobile in front of you for sure. But, he’s definitely been one of the most overlooked trequartistas in world football. Typically, he either plays at the CAM position or CM position, as he does the most damage there. He’s definitely been a key part of Lazio’s success this season and hopefully, he remains at Lazio through the foreseeable future.

1. Paulo Dybala

Image Credit: http://straitstimes.com

It’s no secret that Paulo Dybala has been Juve’s most important player this season. Indeed, without la Joya, who knows where they’d be in the Serie A standings. He hasn’t had great numbers in terms of assists and goals. However, his impact goes beyond numbers, as is this season it has. A big reason he’s been so crucial for Juve this season is because he’s that player that links the midfield to the attack. Also, Juve’s midfield has been subpar, so he’s had to carry the load in terms of playmaking for Juve. Even, Totti said recently that Dybala is the best No. 10 in Serie A, currently. If Juve finally addresses their major issues in the middle of the field this summer, next season we may see Dybala become Serie A’s top player by far.

Thank you for reading this article! Be sure to find me on Instagram @calciofanblogs, on Twitter @calciofanblogs1. Also, be sure to like and follow my Facebook page, Calcio Fan Blogs as well as connecting with me on LinkedIn, which is Joseph Porco.

How Serie A Clubs Will Do in the Champions League Knockout Round

Featured

Image Credit: http://www.tifosibianconeri.com

Something remarkable has happened in the Champions League this season! That something, is the fact that there will be three Serie A clubs in the round of 16 this season in the Champions League. For Serie A fans, it’ll be more fun than usual to watch. So, here’s how far I think the Serie A clubs will do in the round of 16.

ATALANTA

Image Credit: http://thelaziali.com

Earlier this week, Atalanta qualified for the Champions League in a triumphant fashion against Shakhtar Donetsk. It was absolutely amazing, to say the least! There were videos of Atalanta fans as well as players and staff celebrating this remarkable accomplishment. Now, they will be in the round of 16 for the first time in their history. They are coming in hot, as well. Based on the way they’re playing right now, many clubs should be scared to face them. However, I don’t think they’ll make it past the round of 16. I understand that they’re in pretty good form right now, however, I feel that their lack of experience in this type of situation is why they won’t advance past the round of 16. Sorry, La Dea fans!

NAPOLI

Image Credit: http://amp.guardian.com

There’s been a lot of drama surrounding Napoli lately. The players reportedly rebelled against Aurelio De Laurentiis and Carlo Ancelotti got sacked this week as well. So, it’s been an interesting few weeks for Napoli. However, fans will be happy that they went undefeated in the Champions League Group Stage and are now in the round of 16. Yes, Gattuso isn’t experienced as a manager at all with a club in the Champions League. However, based on how they’ve performed in the Champions League this season, no top club will want to face them. They’ll be a tough squad to beat, especially this season. That’s why I think they’ll make it through to the quarterfinals this time.

JUVENTUS

Image Credit: http://www.latintimes.com

If you didn’t know too much about Juventus and you based your knowledge off of what Bianconeri fans and pundits say, you’d think Juventus are doing terrible and they’re in a crisis. However, that’s not the case at all. Yes, they currently sit in second in Serie A and still have deficiencies in their Midfield, but, they went undefeated in the Champions League Group Stage. They also came in first in their group. Which, leads me to believe they’ll make it far in this competition. In my opinion, there’s no reason why Juve shouldn’t at least make the semifinals. I actually predict they’ll make the Champions League finals this season. Despite, their deficiencies in the midfield, I think they’ll continue to improve over the season under Sarri and should find themselves in Istanbul on May 30, 2020.

Here’s a video of Atalanta Fans Celebrating after they qualified to the round of 16! Video Credit: YouTube-Light Yagami

3 Reasons Why Juventus Has Been Quietly Successful Under Sarri So Far

Featured

Image Credit: https://www.google.ca/amp/s/syndication.bleacherreport.com/amp/2851524-report-maurizio-sarri-could-be-on-juventus-bench-vs-napoli-following-pneumonia.amp.html

Many fans of the bianconeri have been complaining that so far, the style of play Juve has implemented under Sarri hasn’t looked different than that of Allegri’s. However, despite that, Juve is undefeated in all competitions. They’ve also sealed first in their Champions League group. But, Juve has not been as heavily talked about this season compared to the last, at least from what I’ve heard and witnessed. In the summer of 2018, Juve signed CR7. Within the season that proceeded, it seemed as if all eyes were on Juve to finally triumph and win the Champions League. But, it didn’t end up happening and Massimiliano Allegri got sacked the following summer. This season, Sarri has guided Juve to massive wins and they’re doing it very quietly, which makes them scary to face. So, here are 3 reasons why I think Sarri has led them to being undefeated , thus far.

Reason #1: Sarri Has Revitalized Dybala’s Career

Image Credit: https://www.google.ca/amp/s/www.footballtransfertavern.com/serie-a/juventus-fans-react-to-paulo-dybala-free-kick-memory/amp/

Last season, Dybala did not start as much many would’ve wanted him too, as Allegri decided to play a 4-3-3 formation, which led him to be an outcast. Even during this past summer, there were rumors that Dybala would be sold to numerous clubs. Among the clubs rumoured to be interested in Paulo Dybala were Tottenham and ManU. However, Dybala stayed put in Turin and already has 4 goals and 1 assist in 11 Serie A appearances. Last season, he got 5 goals and 4 assists in 30 total appearances in Serie A. This demonstrates that Sarri has gotten the best out of Dybala. Sarri has been consistently deploying a 4-3-1-2 formation for Juve this season, which suits Dybala’s style of play. Dybala has been playing as one of the two strikers up top. The reason this formation is the most beneficial for him is because he’s a very technical player, whose also a great play maker. As a result, putting him as one of the two players up front as a support striker allows him to playmake freely, as he’s used to doing. Also, he’s a very good goalscorer, so putting him up front takes the load off of Gonzalo Higuain, who is typically the other player up top with him.

Reason#2: Maurizio Sarri Has Allowed Juve To Have More Creativity in their Midfield

Image Credit: https://www.clubcall.com/serie-a/juventus/2019/11/27/juventus-seeking-euro-glory-pjanic/

Yes, Juve’s midfield is still missing another creative spark. That’s just my opinion. However, Sarri has allowed Juve’s midfield to become more creative in the opponent’s half. He hasn’t really deployed his famous “sarriball” at Juventus yet, as the midfield overall, doesn’t fit this type of system. However, from what I’ve noticed, they’ve looked more fluid. Maybe, it’s because Dybala has been starting more or for other reasons. But, for me the big reason Sarri has allowed Juve’s offense to look more fluid this season is because of the formation change. From reading this article, you probably think my favourite formation for any club coach to deploy is the 4-3-1-2, however that’s not always the case. It’s just that in this instance, having that central-attacking midfielder or better known in Fifa as CAM, has provided a link between Juve’s central midfielders and attackers. As a result, the service the attackers have received has improved from last season. My opinion is that if a club has a midfield who doesn’t have enough flair to provide adequate service to the players upfront, a CAM is needed so that there’s that extra creativity, if necessary. It seems to have been working under Sarri so far, let’s see if it continues.

Reason#3: Maurizio Sarri Has Made Them Less Dependent on Cristiano Ronaldo to Score

Image Credit: https://www.google.ca/amp/s/metro.co.uk/2019/11/15/cristiano-ronaldo-transfer-juventus-news-manchester-united-paul-pogba-man-utd-11165552/amp/

I’m sure this is a very unpopular opinion and I may get some flack for it, however, I think that a big reason why Sarri has been successful with Juve thus far, is that he’s limited the over-reliance on Cristiano Ronaldo to provide offense. I don’t believe that Sarri has tried to undermine Cristiano Ronaldo, I think he’s attempted to coordinate the offense so that there’s less responsibility on CR7 to generate the majority of it himself. Unfortunately, last season under Allegri, Dybala under-performed, Higuain was on loan, Douglas Costa was often injured, and Mandzukic also underperformed. As a result, Ronaldo had to carry the majority of the offensive load for Juve. Yes, at Real Madrid, CR7 had to carry their offense load as well, during his last couple of seasons with the club, however, at least he had adequate service from the midfield to do that. Last season at Juve, the service to the players upfront wasn’t great. Unfortunately, that forced Cristiano Ronaldo to have to be more of a playmaker than he normally would be. In his prime, CR7 was a very technical and creative player. However, he’s a bit past his prime and doesn’t have the speed he once had. Therefore, when they centred the offense around him and didn’t get the best out of the other players upfront, it wasn’t beneficial for the club at all. Sarri has implemented a system to ensure that there’s less pressure on one particular player to generate offense in the opponent’s half. It has definitely yielded better results this season than the last one, so far. This is especially true in the Champions League for Juve.